Blair Partnership, a literary agency based in London that represents author JK Rowling, has lost four authors over its refusal to support the trans community, according to The Guardian. After Rowling quadrupled down on her anti-trans beliefs, authors at Blair Partnership privately asked the company to “reaffirm their commitment to transgender rights and equality.” However, after private conversations, it became clear to the authors that Blair Partnership was “unable to commit to any action that we thought was appropriate and meaningful,” according to a joint statement sent to The Guardian. The four authors, one of whom chose to remain anonymous, left the agency.
Clearly unable to read the room, Blair Publishing responded that it would not impede on an author’s “fundamental freedom” to say whatever they wanted and were “not willing to have staff ‘re-educated’ to meet the demands of a small group of clients,” a spokesperson told The Guardian. It appears that Blair did not get the memo that trans people are able to both read and write books. The spokesperson also said, “We support the rights of all of our clients to express their thoughts and beliefs, and we believe in freedom of speech. It is our duty, as an agency to support all of our clients in this fundamental freedom and we do not comment on their individual views.” Perhaps re-education is not one of the myriad things that fall under freedom of speech protections.
Just like every other industry during these times, which people keep calling unprecedented but do in fact have precedent, publishing is being forced to reckon with all the ways in which it’s failed to uphold diversity. But the real travesty is not the revelation that things have been bad all along, but the reality that they’ve been so bad because those in power are unwilling to admit that there’s a problem at all.